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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  April 4, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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exciting and like there is a secret special meaning to things that only you know about if you're smart enough to understand how things really work. conspiracy theories can be fun. but when they start seeping into the way one of our two political parties approaches basics of governing, they're less fun. tonight we finally have some good news about guns. we have a video that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you feel lucky to live in the united states of america. and we have a president who is trying to change congress. oh. and did i mention we have martin short? president obama is at a democratic fund-raiser in california. >> president obama's west coast cash stash. >> main focus is politics and getting a democratic house elected in 2014.
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>> the midterm fight is absolutely under way. >> democrats certainly want to take back the house. >> the president is making sure he does all he can to boost democrats ans' chances. >> the fact of nancy pelosi becoming speaker again. >> speaker nancy pelosi. one of the best speakers the house of representatives has ever had. we could not have done it without her. ♪ health insurance becomes law in the united states. lilian ledbetter restoration act. >> what wall street means to you. >> i now pass this gavel to the new speaker. >> in the debt limit debate, our goals are simple. >> how did the grand bargain fail? >> i wasn't going to be for higher taxes. >> congress might allow severe budget cuts to take place. >> discussion about revenue is over. >> delay, delay, delay. >> mark your calendars. set the alarm. >> democrats certainly want to take back the house. >> we are just 578 days to the midterm elections.
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with congress stuck in gridlock almost all of the time, about almost everything, what is a president to do. president obama has decided to try to change congress more to his liking. at a fund-raiser last night in california, president obama said i would be dishonest if i didn't say that it would be a whole lot easier to govern if i had nancy pelosi as speaker. senior white house adviser dan phifer said yesterday that winning back the house of representatives is possible for democrats. >> i think there's a possibility for a whole host of reasons. and continuing to reinforce the idea that you are a party that caters not to the 90% but to the 10%, a party that is out of touch with the mainstream of america on a whole host of issues, that continues to alienate the demographic groups that are moving away from the republican party. that will contribute to that. >> at one of the four fund
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raisers the president has attended in the last two days, fund raisers that are closed to our cameras, the president said he still hasn't given up on hope for bipartisanship, saying, look, my intention here is to try to get as much done with the republican party over the next two years as i can, because we can't have perpetual campaigns. i'm looking to find areas of common ground with republicans every single day. alex wagner, it seems the only common ground area so far is immigration reform. >> and even that. look, there is a debate in the senate over whether or not there is going to be a path to citizenship. just wait until it goes to the raucous caucus of crazy people in the house. that is going to be the true test of whether we get anything passed. i think it is nice the president is still extending olive branches but it seems he has awoke endothe electoral reality which is things are going to be way, way easier if they can get the house back. >> let's listen to what dan phifer said about what they could accept in immigration reform.
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>> the president wants to sign the strongest gun bill he can sign. we have to make sure whatever we do is better than current law. and so we're going to look at any compromise that comes forward and we're going to base it on that. >> okay. so that would be the clip about what they could accept in gun control, sam stein. we have a clip somewhere in our files. >> this is a tight-lipped show. >> we don't have time to rehearse the clips. it's not real show business. >> no. are you serious? >> we will show the immigration reform clip some other time. >> just tell us what it was. >> it was basically they'll accept something that's consistent with the president's principles. i have them memorized, mostly. >> good thing. >> and that, of course, is path to citizenship, and that is where the problem is. >> is that really the problem, though? you would think that at this juncture republicans would sort have gotten the message after losing 70% of the hispanic vote. i don't see why the white house needs to bend that much on this.
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they won an election largely on the hispanic vote. largely because they were promising to do immigration reform with a path tozenship. if they were to turn around and say the path to citizenship is going to be a 20-year process -- >> you have taken the path to citizenship. you have the dual citizenship, martin short. >> i have four passports. >> four. >> wow. >> so -- >> my father was born in northern ireland. so as -- >> i don't like you already. >> thank you. and then my grandfather was born in the republic of ireland. >> oh, i like you. i like that guy. >> yeah, yeah. and canada and the u.s. >> but, you know, having -- you're what we call an undecided citizen, right? you're a citizen of everywhere. >> thank you. >> but when you watch this debate play out in this country with your experience, what would you want to say to people about how they should think about immigration in this country? >> well, i think it's -- i think
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it's enormously complex. i phased all over the place. at times i thought, well, gee, if you -- i've gone conservative and said, gee, if you fined every person $100,000 who hired someone who was illegal, would that be the answer to it? but then you say but then that's a more complicated thing because people have to work. i don't know enough about that to know what the answer is, except that the greater thing that fascinates me about this country as opposed to a country like canada is the inability to get anything accomplished. >> yes. >> that's -- because as you know from a parliamentary system, it's a totally different system and governments will collapse, vote of no confidence and say let's hold another election for five weeks to determine a better balance of power. and the new democratic party in canada will make an allegiance with the liberals to say we'll agree on certain things. but the idea is to accomplish things. and for the longest time i've just seen, you know, the republican party saying we have one agenda and that is to stop
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obama and defeat obama. now that he's been re-elected they're kind of now panicking a little bit because they're in this free-fall. >> and in a parliamentary system, you could have a minority party whose agenda is to vote against the party's positions but wouldn't be in a position to stop them. >> no, there are all these arcane devices they can use in the senate, whether the filibuster that are being used in historic and sort of dramatic fashion to block everything the president wants to do, whether cabinet appointments or judicial appointments or actual legislation. i think the problem is that you have a party that is fundamentally in crisis here. the problem with immigration reform and gun control, that's actual legislation. >> and -- i was going to say -- >> one way or the other. >> the danger of a parting crisis, sometimes they can kamikaze, say we will, no matter what, stick to a principle, even though we know we're going to lose the next election and the election after that. and that's fine for a solid philosophy. except that the victim of that is the country.
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>> but sam stein, republicans don't believe they will lose elections by adopting their policies. >> no. otherwise they would change policies. >> but certain parts of the party want to move the ball forward on immigration and others don't. >> this is the argument from the white house heading into 2012. how do you change the republican party's basic philosophy towards governance, right? and they concluded what you had to do, whoop them, and whoop them in an election and they would realize what they were -- learn their lesson. >> that used to work, by the way. >> that's partially because of gerrymandering and partially because people don't like obama. and also in part because of the simplicity of the republican agenda. >> you mean the actual congressional office holders -- dislike the republicans. >> i think so -- >> i don't think that's necessarily just their problem. i think obama has done a fairly poor job in reaching out. republicans' very single agenda, reduce the size of government and cut spending. by definition, you can't agree with them on that. if you were to cut a deficit reduction agreement, they would have nothing else.
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so they have to keep that as an issue. >> can i also say, this -- the government doing nothing and seeming broken and terrible and awful actually fits into the republican agenda. >> rover norquist's idea. >> look how bad government is. we need to keep cutting back. >> is there a portion of the population that sits back and says no doubt independent and says, you know what, i'm just tired of washington not working. so what can i do to get washington working? if obama is president for another four years, i guess vote democrat to make the house sways back. is that a credible portion of the electorate? >> i think you will find that voters frequently try to express a dissatisfaction. and normally the way they do that is by voting against the incumbent party. and sam, in the house of representatives, that would be the republicans. and so if you were trying to vote anti gridlock in the next congressional election, it seems that would be an anti republican -- >> you know, i might be the only one in d.c. who thinks this, but i have -- >> that's why you're here. >> this is new york.
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>> for the speech you're about to make. >> i do believe that over time sequestration is going to cause so much pain in these districts that the party that's most associated with it will face electoral consequences. and that happens to be in this case the republican party. and i think they know it, too, which is why they have gone through this painstaking technique of saying it was obama's idea. because they want him to take some of the blame as well. >> yeah, but let's keep in mind, these guys are flashing vs for victory signs after getting sequestration settled into law and saying we did the right thing. republicans are on the offense, democrats are on the defense. the chickens may come home to roost on that once the reality of sequestration -- >> you can see when these guys go home and talk to the local papers -- >> but it's unevenly distributed. >> they are saying this is bad, we need to reopen these air traffic control towers or the tuition assistance. but if you are talking to washington, d.c. publication, they love the fact we're reducing spending. >> alex wagner, sam stein, thank you very much for joining me. and marty, we're going to have
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to keep you. >> all right. >> you have to stay after school tonight. >> not enough said. >> we're going to need your wisdom on the politics of late night comedy. can you give us some insights there? yeah. you have time to think about it. coming up, in a funny, poignant and just plain wonderful video, kid president meets the real president. and we have some very good news about guns in connecticut, maryland and around the world. and steven colbert's sister has picked up a very important endorsement from a very important comedian. and don't be surprised if during this very hour she picks up another important endorsement from another important comedian. girl vo: i'm pretty conservative. very logical thinker. (laughs) i'm telling you right now, the girl back at home would absolutely not have taken a zip line in the jungle.
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(screams) i'm really glad that girl stayed at home. vo: expedia helps 30 million travelers a month find what they're looking for. one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours. i'm here in your home, having a pretty spectacular tuesday. ♪ but i don't notice the loose rug at the top of your stairs. and that's about to become an issue for me. ♪ and if you got the wrong home insurance coverage, my medical bills could get expensive. so get allstate. [ dennis ] good hands. good home. make sure you have the right home protection.
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john kerry, defense secretary chuck hagel and congressman patrick murphy have
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announced they will be giving up 5% of their income, of their paychecks, to draw attention to federal employees who will be losing part of their incomes because of the sequester. so far, no republican in the house or the senate has been willing to give up a penny of his or her government paycheck. but i wondered what a i tcustomer thought? is great, hi nia... nice to meet you nia, i'm mike. what do you drive? i have a ford explorer, i love my car. and you're treating it well? yes i am. there are a lot of places you could take your explorer for service, why do you bring it back to the ford dealership? they specifically work on fords. it seems to me like the best care. and it's equal or less money, so it's a value for me.
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get a free brake inspection and brake pads installed for just 49.95 after rebates when you use the ford service credit card. who doesn't enjoy value? try e-mail marketing from constantcontact. it's the fastest, easiest way to create great-looking custom e-mails that bring customers through your door. sign up for your free trial today at as well as they could because they don't take it with food. switch to citracal maximum plus d. it's the only calcium supplement that can be taken with or without food. my doctor recommends citracal maximum. it's all about absorption. in good news about guns this week, on tuesday, the united nations voted overwhelmingly to approve the first treaty ever aimed at regulating the enormous global trade in weapons. everything from fighter jets to guns and rifles.
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the national rifle association, of course, opposes that treaty. the vote in the general assembly was 154 in favor, 23 abstaining, and only 3 opposed. the three countries in complete agreement with the national rifle association on this treaty are iran, north korea and syria. so all of you patriots out there paying your dues to the nra are doing so now in complete support of iran, north korea and syria's opinion on that treaty with the united nations. on wednesday in maryland, the house of representatives voted 78-61 to pass a strict new gun and ammunition control bill. the bill would require the fingerprinting of gun buyers and a photo i.d. purchasing license, similar to a driver's license, which would have to be renewed every ten years like a driver's license. and even though fingerprinting and licensing requirements would not cover the purchase of
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hunting rifles or shotguns, maryland republican michael mcdermott said the new law is a de facto ban on gun sales in maryland. and yesterday in connecticut, the state senate passed a vote of 26-10 to pass a new gun and ammunition legislation, which governor dannel malloy signed into law today. connecticut's new massacre control measure bans selling magazines that hold more than ten bullets. it requires universal background checks. including on private sales and gun show sales. it expands connecticut's assault weapons ban, adding more than 100 additional firearms to that ban. it includes new eligibility requirements for buying ammunition and it creates a registry of dangerous offenders that is only available to law enforcement. just before he signed the bill, governor malloy thanked legislators. the newtown connecticut police department, vipt biden and president obama.
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>> we have come together in a way that relatively few places in our nation have demonstrated an ability to do. in some senses, i hope this is an example to the rest of the nation. certainly to our leaders in washington who seem so deeply divided about an issue such as universal background checks, where the country is not divided itself. >> so joy reid, as of tonight, the nra now stands with syria, iran and north korea. >> yeah, and i think it's kind of fitting. because in a way what the nra has been proposing is to turn the united states into a series of sort of armed camps. each with its own warlords wielding the kind of weaponry you do see in war-torn countries. they are literally calling to arm teachers with ar-15s. they think that is the solution to the problem of potential
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school massacres. but i think what you're also seeing here, there is sanity at work in this process. and it's taking place in the states. and specifically in the states that have had the two most high-profile massacres in recent history. in colorado, where the aurora massacre took place and in connecticut, where you see responsiveness to the body politic. by the way, the people want that in lots of other states too but their senators and congressmen are only responsive to the nra. >> and the nra is very active in maryland and connecticut on this legislation. they were in maryland yesterday when this was going on and they were up there normally getting their way. they just got steamrolled in those legislatures. >> we talked about their power and these federal disputes. but most of gun regulation, most police powers are exercised at the state level, where the criminal code works, or in the case of a lot of these massacres, as you have been reporting, doesn't work. so they are finally getting, you know, outspent in at least
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public capital of people's opinions, people's energy, and a real recollection to these crises. >> let's listen to what wayne lapierre said today on fox news about the limitations on magazines, which i think is the critical thing here. >> people that know guns, you can change magazine clips in a second. there's no evidence that, you know, anything would have changed. >> of course, joy, this is the most pure lie he could tell. there is absolute proof that it would have changed what happened in tucson, arizona. that guy had to reload after killing that child there. and in the process of reloading that magazine, that's when they could stop him. >> exactly. you had the woman who was actually able to grab the gun in the gabby giffords shooting. there is no way under complete -- cover fire, right? almost military cover fire. could she have picked up that gun, absolutely not. the forcing a gunman to reload is literally the only way to stop a massacre.
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and the idea that someone with a gun could have stopped it, well columbine, there was an armed guard there. so that is also fallacious. everything the nra has argued against sane control is false. >> marty short has his hand up, might have a question or comment. >> i have a question. i don't believe in, you know, evil or -- and bad. i think that everyone has an agenda, and obviously wane lapierre has an agenda of representing gun manufacturers, not the nra. but why does -- he's not an idiot. he knows if he sits back and is now associated with north korea and syria and iran that -- this looks bad for him. he has no credibility. why does he allow himself to be in such a preposterous situation? >> i think a lot of it comes to the fact that the nra has become an institution that only does negotiation. they don't do policy. so they're not actually ever trying to work out what might be a reasonable policy. they're just doing the negotiated position of saying we're going to stay as far away from everything in any common
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sense positions as possible, and then if we have to give up a little bit, you know, then that's all we lose. and you see that most clearly in training. the maryland bill, which is going to become state law, requires training to use a gun. that will make it only the fifth state that requires that. in contrast to all 50 states that require a test and training for you to operate a car. and south dakota was the last state to do that in 1954. and guns can be a lot more dangerous than cars. so you can support gun rights to the hilt, and the second amendment to the hilt. and 20 guns in your home and still go along with the common sense idea we should have licensing and training for the people who use them. they're not interested, though, in that common sense exchange, as far as i can tell. >> marty's question comes from 90% of the people out there who support the background checks, who support these things. and they're looking and going, what this organization won't go along with these simple things and it's only because we study
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and understand their lobbying techniques we kind of get what they're up to. >> i think in a way, wayne lapierre is a scarecrow, making crazy noises and distracting you. while you're focused on him, the real work at the nra is on the members of congress and senate and they understand their incentives are different than let's say a governor. a governor has to be directly responsive to their state. because the way they're re-elected is by proving to the local people, to the communities, what they have done for them. a senator is a lot more distant. a lot of people don't have that sort of first-person relationship in a lot of ways and understanding their senator, if they even know who they are in a lost lot of these states. getting re-elected in a state, statewide, takes money. and the nra simply dangles in front of these candidates and as far as these members of the house, they're gerrymandered to be so conservative they too are responsive to the public. wayne lapierre is a distraction but serves to keep the senators and house members in line.
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they keep them to heel while they work their magic through their lobbyists on the hill. >> joy reid thank you for joining me tonight. coming up, a video you are going to love of a little boy in the oval office with the president, the third grader who doesn't want to wait until he's 35 to become president himself. it is funny, it's an inspiring video. i can't get enough of it. you're going to love it. acceler-rental. at a hertz expressrent kiosk, you can rent a car without a reservation...
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coming up next, elizabeth
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colbert-busch, got a completely surprising endorsement last night. will the bump include a rush by other famous comedians to endorse elizabeth colbert-busch? i ask you, martin short -- >> i would like to do it as a series of my beloved characters and then culminate my endorsement as john f. kennedy. >> do you have a ten-second version of this? >> i say, elizabeth colbert-busch will be elected because she has my endorsement. >> there we have it. breaking news. can we get -- there it is, the breaking news banner is up. martin short endorses elizabeth colbert-busch. look at that. you just made breaking news. we had to get that approved at the highest level. they don't throw that banner around. >> i'm very impressed. >> we'll be back with more of all of this. >> pauly shore? is he endorsing? this day calls you.
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i'm here in your home, having a pretty spectacular tuesday. ♪ but i don't notice the loose rug at the top of your stairs. and that's about to become an issue for me. ♪ and if you got the wrong home insurance coverage, my medical bills could get expensive. so get allstate. [ dennis ] good hands. good home. make sure you have the right home protection. talk to an allstate agent. her long day of pick ups and drop offs begins with arthritis pain... and a choice. take up to 6 tylenol in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief. all aboard. ♪ my sister is running for congress against mark sanford! i'm going to shock some people right now. and endorse my sister, elizabeth
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colbert-busch for congress. yes, she's a democrat. but she's a business woman, a job-creator, who in raising three children on $14,000 a year, went back to school, built a 20-year career in international trade and is now leading mark sanford in two consecutive polls! are we ready to do this nation! yeah! >> in the spotlight tonight, steven colbert endorsed the congressional candidacy of his sister who pronounced wanted family name the old fashioned way, elizabeth colbert-busch, in south carolina. one republican official in south carolina tells the "new york times" everybody is really concerned, because she's not a bad-looking lady. welcome to south carolina politics, ladies and gentlemen. that same official said there are two other things that worry their republicans.
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quote, she is a good speaker and she has got some money. she will have some more money when steven colbert hosts a pair of fund raisers for his sister this month. one in new york, one in washington. on tuesday, her republican opponent, former governor, mark sanford, accepted the nomination with his argentina mistress on stage with him. according to the hill, democratic party strategists believe there is little to gain from harping on sanford's infamous extra marital affair pause voters know about it. they believe a tax on his alleged misuse of tax dollars in a commission report will be much more damaging. a state ethics commission charged governor sanford with 37 violations, including using state funds when flying to argentina on what turned out to be not exactly state business. sanford paid $74,000 in fines. the highest ethics fine ever paid in the state. one frustrated republican
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strategist told the hill, he's an embarrassment. he's a disgrace. yes, i'm frustrated. it's a real disappointment, because this is just going to be one more embarrassment for the republican party, whether he wins or loses. joining me now, msnbc political analyst in south carolina, native eugene robinson. you just saw the breaking news made here on msnbc, martin short is in now. the comedian endorsement thes are piling up fast. and i am sure -- you can tell us about south carolina. i'm sure in elections like this, they look to the north for guidance. >> yes. >> especially containedians. >> yes, look to canadians. >> yes, what do the canadians think? martin short endorsement, that's at least ten people, right? ed grimly -- >> there you go. he wanted to do it in all ten. he did. yeah. >> anyhow, this is the greatest congressional race ever. >> certainly is.
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>> here's my theory of this race. you -- the republicans can only lose this seat if three things happen. number one, if the republicans nominate mark sanford. they can lose. number two, if the democrats nominate a good candidate who is -- who can be moderate and raise some money and has got some pizazz and that has happened. and the third thing that has to happen, mark sanford has to run a campaign about him and his personal redemption. that seems to be what he's trying to do. and that's a terrible mistake. but i think every time the fiancee comes out on his shoulder, he loses some votes. >> well, let's take a look at this truly surreal moment from the election night this week when he made these comments about exactly that. >> i thank you. i guess to my fiancee behind me for her long suffering she put up with me being on the road for more than just a few months.
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and i thank you for that, as well. >> eugene. in the story of mark sanford's life, she is not the one who most people describe as long-suffering. number one. number two. do you really want to talk about being on the road a lot, and away from your woman if you're mark sanford? >> no, you don't. you really don't. >> i thought so. >> no. i mean, this is kind of -- campaigning 101. if you have this problem, right? you have this problem in your past, don't go out of your way to call attention to it. don't go out of your way to remind people that you were not only unfaithful to your wife but unfaithful to the state and to your duties as governor, and everyone was told you were hiking the appalachian trail when you were on -- and part the expression, you were on a booty call to buenos aires.
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not the way to get elected. >> i will pardon it just for you. next week in south carolina, there is a democratic pac that plans to run this ad. >> there are absolutes. there are consequences if you breach that. >> mark sanford promised to only serve three terms in congress. he promised he would never misuse taxpayer money. mark sanford made a lot of promises and broke them all. now mark sanford says he's learned from his mistakes. the real question, will we? >> gene, how do you think that one is going to play? >> well, i think it's pretty good. i mean, look. mark sanford has been sanctimonious over the years about family values, about his faith, which i'm sure is genuine. about absolutes. and so i would imagine democrats
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are going to throw that back at him and certainly are going to harp on the -- was it $74,000 in ethics fines that he had to pay as a result of his misdeeds while in office. >> south carolina political analyst eugene robinson, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> great to be here. coming up, there is an amazing sequel tonight to that video of kid president we showed the other day. and the politics of late-night. martin short returns to talk about the big change at the "tonight show." a recap, merv. [ merv ] thanks, other merv. mr. clean magic eraser extra power was three times faster on permanent marker. elsewhere against dirt, it was a sweep, with scuffed sports equipment... had it coming. grungy phones... oh! super dirty! and grimy car rims... wow! that really works! ...all taking losses. it looks like mr. clean has won everything. the cleaning games are finished? and so are we. okay, but i just took a mortgage out on the cabinet.
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newt. oh, that guy. that guy is just hilarious, isn't he? he kept wanting washington to tighten its belt. this is a guy who has not seen his belt since junior high school. you know, used marriage like dinner, back for seconds and thirds. >> martin short is here to tell us all of the back-stage secrets
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of the late-night comedy world. and next, an amazing oval office video that i could just watch over and over again. in fact, i've already watched it over and over again, but i'm going to watch it one more time. girl vo: i'm pretty conservative. very logical thinker. (laughs) i'm telling you right now, the girl back at home would absolutely not have taken a zip line in the jungle. (screams) i'm really glad that girl stayed at home.
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vo: expedia helps 30 million travelers a month find what they're looking for. one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours. the battle of bataan, 1942. [ all ] fort benning, georgia, in 1999. [ male announcer ] usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation because it offers a superior level of protection and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto-insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. on april 1st, the white house temporarily rewrote the age requirement for president of the united states. ♪
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>> it looks like you're expecting somebody else. but april fool's on all y'all. i'm kid president and i hope everyone has an awesome day. >> that was the kid president video made by rain wilson's soul pancake website and released on the white house website on april fool's day. kid president is known to his third grade classmates in henderson, tennessee as robby novak. a few other things happened for kid president monday. he went to the white house easter egg roll, where he was a big hit. >> kid president! give kid president a big round of applause! >> the other thing that happened that day is that kid president got to spend some quality time with the real president. this image of the american president in the oval office was unimaginable as a political reality. until that summer night in 2004
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when john kerry's presidential nominating convention introduced barack obama to this nation. >> now, even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us. the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers, who embrace the politics of anything goes. well, i say to them, tonight there is not a liberal america, and a conservative america. there is the united states of america. there is not a black america and a white america and latino america and asian america. there is the united states of america. >> before we saw barack obama give that speech, we could all imagine that one day in the distant future there would be an african-american president. when we saw that speech, that night, we could finally put a face on who that african-american president would be. we could put a timetable on his ascension to the presidency.
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an african-american president was no longer a dream. it was an ever-expanding political reality, as soon as barack obama completed that convention keynote address. and now the white house that was built by slaves is home to descendents of slaves. the american myth has always been that anyone can grow up to be president. that was our mythology back when slavery was still legal. that was our mythology when women still didn't have the right to vote. we still have never had a woman president, but our mythology remains that anyone can grow up to be president. we still have never had a jewish president. there are too many traps in modern american poverty, and too many complexities to the socioeconomic dynamics that produce our presidents, to allow us to say, without reservation, that this really is the country where anyone can grow up to be president. but throughout our history, we've been moving ever closer to that ideal. anyone can grow up to be president.
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we took a giant step closer to that ideal with our election of the first african-american president. we knew then that one of the nongovernmentelal benefits of his election was that black children and other children would be able to see new possibilities in their lives more clearly. i know that feeling. i remember that feeling of the suddenly expanded universe of possibility. i was one of those little boston irish catholic boys about the age of kid president when i watched john fitzgerald-kennedy take the oath of office as the first irish-catholic president. suddenly, a catholic could be president. a boston guy, an irish guy. jfk was from our town, but his upbringing was as different from ours as president obama's was from kid president's. irish-catholic kids felt a direct personal connection to jfk. all catholic kids did. we felt an instantaneous change of possibility in our world.
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the video you're about to see of robby novak's quality time with barack obama was posted today at it's funny, it's cute, it's truly awesome. and not just because robby says it's awesome. some people in our office today cried when they watched it, and couldn't say exactly why. and i think it's because this man, and this little boy, together, tell us a story that is deeply profound, without ever trying to be profound. they just meet and chat and laugh. but they do it in the oval office. and their meeting in that room can't help but evoke our painful past and our always hopeful future. this meeting in the oval office is empty of politics and full of love and hope and grace. you can see in it more hope for this country's ideal than any
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speech could ever deliver. the ideal that any child in this country can grow up to be president. ♪ >> are we going to have fun? >> yeah. >> so this is the oval office right here. and -- >> cool. >> i think you should try to sit behind the desk so you look more official. >> hello? >> everything all right? >> nope. >> okay. we'll make sure not to cause an international incident. kid president, what grade are you in? >> third. >> third? >> uh-huh. >> third grade? >> uh-huh. >> yeah? this is a telegraph. >> telegraph, what's a telegraph? >> a telegraph, it used to be before there were phones, before there was the internet, before there was youtube -- >> electricity --
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>> it was a telegraph and that's how you would communicate from far away. how is school? >> good. >> it's going pretty good? because i know you've got all of these other activities, so much demands on your time trying to balance being president and being in the third grade, you know? that's a lot of stuff. >> uh-huh. >> but you seem to be handling it pretty well. >> very well. >> this is a program from the march on washington where dr. king spoke. have you heard of the "i have a dream" speech? this is the original program from that. somebody gave that to me. >> of course, this is abraham lincoln. and one of my favorite presidents. >> mine too. >> any advice for me as just an ordinary president as opposed to kid president? >> i have one. >> okay. >> well, it's not really advice. >> okay. >> it's just -- how you're doing. you're doing awesome. >> you think i'm doing awesome? >> uh-huh. >> thank you. that means a lot to me. i think you're doing awesome. so both of us have got a lot of responsibilities, but we're
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handling our business. >> how can kids and grown-ups work together to change the world? >> the most important thing we can all do is to treat each other with kindness and respect. right? so kids, they can learn right away when, you know, in school and on the playground, to be nice to each other. and if you see a kid being picked on, you make sure you stand up for them. and you treat everybody fairly, you know, no matter what they look like or where they're from. and if you start learning to do that as kids, everybody is respectful of each other and nice to each other, then when they grow up, they'll be doing the same thing and we'll have a lot fewer problems. don't you think? >> yeah. >> i think that makes sense. this is where the emancipation proclamation that abraham lincoln signed to free the slaves. and this is a bust of dr. martin luther king. you keep on doing oh the great work that you're doing.
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i'll try to do my best between the two of us, maybe we can get things going in a good direction. now even though we're presidents, can we still hug? >> yeah. >> is that okay? okay. i just wanted to make sure. thanks, man. >> you're welcome. >> all right. you work hard in school, too. okay. yeah. we get to live in the country where that happened. changing the world is exhausting business. with the innovating and the transforming and the revolutionizing. it's enough to make you forget that you're flying five hundred miles an hour on a chair that just became a bed. you see, we're doing some changing of our own. ah, we can talk about it later.
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how many folks earlier today saw the white smoke coming out of the chimney at nbc? anybody see that? >> you guys probably heard the news. i'm going to be taking over for the "tonight show" next february.
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>> okay. apparently it's a different jimmy that's going to be hosting the "tonight show." >> we sure? >> i just have one request of jimmy. we have all fought, kicked and scratched to get this network up to fifth place, okay? now we have to keep it there. jimmy, don't let it slip into sixth! we're counting on you! we're counting on you! >> joining me now, "the last word's" senior show business analyst, mr. martin short. >> thank you very much, lawrence. >> for you, this is a crazy world, late-night comedy. you've done them all. and by done them all, i mean appeared on the show with them all. >> i think i get your drift. >> and i think we have a picture or set of pictures that we'll show you with every late-night host, except johnny carson. but you were -- you did do the "tonight show." >> many, many times. eight times. the first time i followed betty davis. >> someone -- >> there is jay. >> you know him. yeah.
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so you know, i went back to rick stengel's great article in "time" magazine when jay took over the "tonight show" and he kind of -- conveyed exactly how important johnnie was to the show. but the headline, i looked at again today in "time" magazine. jay leno, midnight's mayor, and it made me think, yeah, that kind of might have been the stylistic problem for jay, is that he kind of did it a little bit like a mayor, meaning he wanted everybody to like him, and he wasn't the guy who took chances. with comedy the way the other people have. >> well, i don't know. i don't know if you could sit back and really analyze jay's problem in that respect, because he's, you know, been often in first place. >> oh, there's -- i forgot. he is number one in the ratings. there's that thing that everyone forgets in the story. >> yeah. even the demographic. but he's -- but, you know, they're all neck and neck. they're right there. dave is -- and kim. listen. i mean, you do a job for 22
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years, he's done it -- he's done a great job. he's played -- he's been a loyal servant to nbc, absolutely. and i think he's to be congratulated and i hope it works out perfectly. i think the main thing is that all these shows, any show, any host who takes over needs to be allowed a little time to fit into the saddle. >> and it took jimmy time. it took conan time. they both had rough starts. and conan is a friend of mine. >> and they did not give -- conan didn't have a long stay to get into the saddle. >> no, i mean conan in late night. the first time he worked in this building, he had a rocky start. and you watched him get his legs. you watched him find his way. jimmy has found his way. jimmy fallon has found his way. and i want to show i think the way he found his way, in my view, all through the music. i think that's the key he brings to this that no one else has. let's watch jimmy slow jamming the news. >> the obama administration once
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again finds itself locking horns with republicans over the issue of raising the debt ceiling, the amount of money the nation is legally allowed to borrow. ♪ oh yeah when it comes to raising the dead ceiling, the president is having a hard time getting it up. seems the gop ain't rubbing him the right way. especially with the country $16.4 trillion in debt. ♪ say we're still in debt but it's all right ♪ ♪ the united states really couldn't get any broker ♪ ♪ got to liquidate its assets just like al roker ♪ >> no other show. no other show can do that. and by the way, the way this works, the stuff i turn down, brian williams does. he is so easy, it's just -- he's the second call. he runs down.
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>> what jimmy did was brilliant. he had been this star on "saturday night live" and took all that expertise and just made his signature stronger. and in that late-night arena. and each person -- look at "saturday night live." each person becomes a star on that show by doing their own approach to what they think is funny. and it works because it comes from a sincere place. >> i want to show something else that jimmy did that went absolutely viral, dancing with the first lady. >> oh, i've seen this. great. ♪ ♪ >> can you imagine mamie eisenhower doing that? >> no. so through the magic of television, which is very magic -- you're actually going to do


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